Hermann Boeschenstein

Title:  Hermann Boeschenstein fonds

Date(s) of creation: 1827-1997

Physical description:  5.27 metres of multimedia records

Admin. history/Biographical Sketch: 
Hermann Boeschenstein was born in Stein am Rhein, Switzerland on May 1, 1900.  He attended the University of Zurich and pursued studies as well in Munich, Berlin, Kiel, Konigsberg and Rostock.  At the University of Rostock he completed his doctorate with a thesis on the philosophy of J.P. Crousaz in 1924.  The next two years were spent largely travelling including visiting  Canada and travelling to the West coast.  He returned to Switzerland in May 1928 and married his long time sweetheart, Elisabeth Schoch.  By August, 1928, they set out for Toronto.  He worked at the Banting Institute and University Library, and enrolled for philosophical studies with George Sidney Brett.  While at the University he met Prof. G. H. Needler of the University College German Department who recognized Boeschenstein's potential and appointed him to the Department of German in 1930. 

During the second world war, Prof. Boeschenstein was on leave from the University to serve as the Director for Canada of the War Prisoners' Aid of the Y.M.C.A. One of his duties was to supply German prisoners of war in Canada with up-to-date reading material.  On return to his duties at the University he was made a full professor in 1948.

In 1956 Prof. Boeschenstein succeeded Barker Fairley as Head of the Department of German. He remained as head of the department until 1967.  He continued his academic activities, taking on Visiting professorships at Zurich (1950), University College, London, England (1956), University of Chicago (1963, 1965), New York State University at Buffalo (1968), University of Waterloo (1968-1969), as well as others.  He was editorial advisor for the University of Toronto Quarterly and also the Canadian-Australian periodical for German Studies, Seminar. In June 1968 he received an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario.  During his career he was the author of nine books and more than 40 articles including a two volume history of German literature 1770-1830 titled Deutsche Gefuhlskultur.

He retired in 1970.  He died at his home in Toronto on September 21, 1982.
Scope and content:  

Personal papers of Hermann Boeschenstein, professor of German documenting his academic activities, family and outside activities.  Includes, correspondence, notes, manuscripts of books, addresses, and other published and unpublished literary works, photographs and publications.  His external activities are documented in records relating to his involvement in War Prisoners' Aid of the YMCA, the Canadian Society for German Relief and the German Prisoner-of-War associations, German-Canadian Club, and the Trans-Canada Alliance of German Canadians. Also included is an oral history interview conducted by Humphrey N. Milnes in 1980 in which Prof. Boeschenstein discusses his career from 1924 to 1970, both in Canada and Europe.
Access/Use:  Open

Finding aids: Finding aids available in Reading Room

Related records in a different fonds: University of Toronto. Department of German

Accruals:   Further accruals not expected.

Corresponding accessions: B1980-0010, B1983-0030, B1984-0014, B1993-0009, B1994-0032, B2001-0036, B2002-0015